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The Waylon Jennings Years at KLLL (Part One)

by JR posted Apr 10 2014 3:17PM
A while back I was able to contact Sky Corbin, he and his family owned and operated KLLL back in the day. Talking with Sky was a treat, but unfortunately, as his wife explained to me, things weren't as clear anymore. So here is part one of Sky's recollection of his time with Waylon Jennings and KLLL for your #ThrowBackThursday

Waylon in Lubbock:  Part One
By: Sky Corbin

It was the Spring of l957. I was a fresh-out-of-the-Air Force young deejay at my hometown radio station, KLVT, Levelland, Texas. One of my fellow deejays, Terry Belyeu, mentioned one day that he'd heard an apparently very young deejay on KVOW, Littlefield )about 25 miles north of our location, and he thought I'd find him interesting. I tuned in, and heard a shy-sounding, rough-reading, but somehow very appealing voice...and when I heard him singing a home-made jingle promoting the radio station, I was fascinated.  Although he was attempting to imitate Hank Snow and singing his jingle to the tune of "I'm Moving On", there was something about the voice I found strangely appealing.

Terry and I drifted up Littlefield way a few days later and visited Waylon at KVOW. The station was in a small frame house with a sheet- iron roof. The only lighting was bare, apparently 40-watt light bulbs The furnishings were past due for the junk yard. Two Mexican gentlemen were practicing in the lobby/studio for their upcoming live music program.They nodded toward the control room when we asked if we could see "Wayland" Jennings. WE introduced ourselves and got a very friendly welcome. Deejays at little stations didn't get all that much attention in those days. The control room made Terry and I feel like we were in the bigtime at OUR place of employment. KVOW was poorly lit, with antiquated, beat-up equipment, and most unforgettable of all, a crack in the corner of the building, about two feet from the operating position that you could have thrown a cat through...well, a kitten, anyway...and Waylon sat there and deejayed, read the news etc. at least 8 hours a day with the west Texas heat..and sand blowing in. I complimented his jingles, told him my brother Ray "Slim" Corbin (later a Monument and Columbia recording artist, but at that time a deejay at KHOB, Hobbs, N. Mex.) and I played guitar and sang and we should all get together. Sounded great to him, he said. We talked for quite a while about our likes and dislikes in music and I asked if he'd be interested in moving if an opportunity came along. He indicated that he would. Said he and his wife and two kids were starving on his $50 a week salary.

He accepted our invitation to visit us at KLVT, and was amazed at how much better the facility was, in every way.   We contined our friendship with occasional visits. I had plans. When, I got an offer from KTFY, Brownfield, with a considerable pay increase and a lighter workload, I recommended Waylon for my job at KLVT. He accepted. I thought he'd be getting my fabulous KLVT salary, a whopping $75 a week, and learned much later he made the move for very little more than he was making at Littlefield. (You need to keep in mind that this was '57 and minimum wage was a dollar an hour to the best of my recollection) He, Ray and I never did all get together that year,   Didn't matter all that much. My brother
Ray and I, with our just-retired-farmer Dad's financial backing, were looking for a radio station to buy, and we finally settled for KLLL, Lubbock, Texas. When I approached Waylon about joining us as our first-hired employee, "Sky, I don't think I'm good enough for a market as big as Lubbock!" protested the future world-renowned superstar.   I responded with, "I may not be either, but we'll learn together...or starve!" That, in retrospect, now seems almost prophetic! The next couple of years were unforgettable. Country boys taking on the big town men in a battle royal for survival, then supremacy. STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT
THRILLING EPISODE, "WAYLON AT K TRIPLE L...studios atop the Great Plains Building in downtown Lubbock, Texas!" 

-Sky Corbin

(posted with permission)


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Location : LevellandLubbockTexasWest Texas
04/10/2014 3:17PM
The Waylon Jennings Years at KLLL (Part One)
Please Enter Your Comments Below
04/10/2014 8:18PM
Waylon & Buddy @ KLLL
I was there nearly every Saturday !!!! I was 12-13 years old at that time , & my girlfriends & I went to the KLLL studio every Saturday to visit Waylon & sometimes Buddy was there ... We then went to the restarant & had lunch . I Miss Waylon ~~~~~!!! Jan
07/12/2014 11:54PM
I met Waylon at a live broadcast at a furniture store in Lubbock. I was 13 or 14 at that time. Sure miss him & his music. My Dad had gotten a big bonus due to a great cotton crop & bought our first T.V. & a record player there.
07/13/2014 7:26AM
Where does KDAV fit into the history of Buddy Holley ?
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